QUALIFYING: Hamilton Pips Bottas for Barcelona Pole
Less than two-tenths of a second split the top three qualifiers in Spain on Saturday, with Lewis Hamilton taking pole from Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the sister Ferrari, followed by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Kevin Magnussen took a superb sixth for Haas, ahead of local heroes Fernando Alonso in the McLaren and Carlos Sainz in the Renault. Romain Grosjean in the second Haas completed the top ten.
All the frontrunners progressed from Q2 on the soft tyre, meaning they will start Sunday’s race on that more durable rubber, rather than the quicker supersoft compound. That second session was a bad one for Force India, who lost Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez in 13th and 15th respectively.
Joining the pink cars in Q2 elimination were McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc.
Nico Hulkenberg was the big faller in Q1. The German narrowly missed the cut after he got just a single flying lap following an apparent gearbox issue on his Renault.
Also eliminated were Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, the latter carrying a three-place grid penalty thanks to his collision with Perez in Baku.
Brendon Hartley did not take part after Toro Rosso could not fix his car in time following his heavy FP3 crash, and Lance Stroll was the final Q1 faller, the Canadian ending his day in the gravel after spinning at Turn 12 at the close of the session.